Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Monday, 21 december 2009 | BBC


Bullfighting bans and the international press

Regarding the proposed ban on bullfights that is scheduled for debate by the Catalan Parliament, Col·lectiu Emma would like to refer to its previous comments on newspaper articles that in our view didn’t accurately reflect the facts (see "A Public reply to the New York Times").

We are happy to see that in a second round of reporting the international press has put the matter in its right perspective, reflecting opinions from both sides of the argument. This is particularly refreshing when compared with some views expressed in the Spanish media claiming that the ban is esentially a political move on the part of pro-independence groups in Catalonia bent on opposing everything that can be identified as “Spanish”.

The facts tell a different story. First, the proposition that has been accepted for debate by the Catalan Parliament was initiated by a non-political organization for the protection of animals that managed to gather over 180,000 signatures in support of the ban – well above the 50,000 that are needed for any such popular motion to be considered. Second, in spite of public subsidies – estimated by the Altarriba animal-rights foundation at around 564 million euros a year – bullfights have been losing the public’s favor not only in Catalonia but also in most Spanish cities, where, like many other traditions, they are dying a slow death. Third, in 1991 bullfights were banned by law in the Canary Islands and that measure wasn’t suspected of carrying anti-Spanish overtones.

If nationalism comes at all into the equation, then, it’s mainly because Spanish nationalists, possibly for want of a better symbol, have always promoted bullfighting as a very visible component of a presumptive common culture, naturally prompting some who don’t feel part of that culture to resist the imposition of its symbols. It is more likely, however, that those who voted in favor of debating a law intended to ban bullfights did so because they are simply sickened by the perpetuation of what most civilized people consider a sordid and barbarous activity.

Some articles about bullfighting bans in Catalonia:
- Al Jazeera
- Times Online
- Financial Times

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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Col·lectiu Emma is a network of Catalans and non-Catalans living in different countries who have made it their job to track and review news reports about Catalonia in the international media. Our goal is to ensure that the world's public opinion gets a fair picture of the country's reality today and in history.

We aim to be recognized as a trustworthy source of information and ideas about Catalonia from a Catalan point of view.
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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia